The world's oldest continuously inhabited city. Many civilizations have
left their mark on Damascus over the centuries: Aramaic, Greek, Roman,
The Umayyad Mosque, Azem palace, the House of St.
Ananias, St. Paul's window, National Museum, Al -Takieh, Hamidiyah
Bazaar, Saladin's Mausoleum, Street Called Straight. At 60 km north of
Damascus: MA'ALULA, the spectacular village, carved in the mountain,
where people still speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus Christ.
360 km. (220 miles) north of Damascus. Fabled city of a
long history of glory and prosperity since the 3rd millennium B. C.
(The legend holds that prophet Abraham once milked his cow atop its hill.) Until
our own century. Aleppo dominated the trade routes
connecting East and West. Today, this second largest Syrian city
still plays a key economic role. Most important sites: the Citadel,
Khans (inns), medieval Suqs (which are covered and wind through the
old city for more than 12 km (8 miles), Grand Mosque, National Museum.
160 Km. (100 miles) north of Damascus. Since ancient
times its midway location (between Damascus and Aleppo, Palmyra and
the Mediterranean) has made it a principal crossroads. Today Homs
still plays a similar role as a crossing point for pipelines. It
contains an important oil refinery and many major factories, plants
and mills. Two famous Roman emperors (Elagabal, Alexander Severus)
originated from Homs. Important sites: Ibn Al-Walid Mosque, the
Virgin's Belt Church, St.Elian Church.
140 km. (90 miles) south of Aleppo. An old and timeless
city famed by its Norias- the huge wooden waterwheels that have been
scooping water from the Orontes and pouring it into irrigation canals
for centuries. Important sites: Museum, Grand Mosque. At 55 km.(35
miles) north-west: the ruins of APAMEA,
the ancient Greco - Roman city built in 300 B.C. It was a very
prosperous settlement inhabited at one time by nearly half a million
186 km. (120 miles) south -west of Aleppo. One of the 5
cities built in the 3rd century B.C. by Seleucos Nicator. Today it is
Syria's principal port on the Mediterranean, and a starting point for
excursions to summer resorts,
medieval castles and archeological sites in the surrounding mountains
and the coastline area.
(RAS SHAMRA) : 16km. north of
Latakia. In 16th century B.C. it was an apogee in culture, diplomacy,
administration, religion and economy. Its brilliant invention was the
world's first alphabet. The 30-letter inscription on a finger size clay
tablet soon revolutionized human knowledge and became the basis of
(TELL HARIR): Dates from the
4th millennium B.C. its strategic location on the Euphrates made it a
prosperous and powerful kingdom. When discovered in 1933, a 300-room
palace was unearthed.
(TELL MARDIKH): 40 km. (25
miles) south of Aleppo. Brought to light in 1974. It was a prominent
kingdom in the 25 th century B.C. Excavations uncovered its palace
library of over 17.000 clay tablets. Among these was the world's
earliest bilingual dictionary.
(TADMOR): 150km. (90 miles)
east of Homs. It rises abruptly from the desert as a dreamlike oasis.
A jumble of magnificent ruins whispering of the grandeur of this
metropolis which, in the 3rd century A.D., was rules by the
extraordinary Queen Zenobia. Principal sites: The Temple of Bell, Arch
of Triumph, Senate, Agora, Theater and the Museum.
KRAK DES CHEVALIERS, 65 km. (40 miles)
west of Homs;
SALADIN'S, 35 km. (21 miles) east of
AL-MARQAB, 95 km. (60 miles) south-east of
One of the world's best preserved Greco-Roman amphitheaters is at
BOSRA 120 km. (75 miles) south of Damascus. Built in the 2nd century.
It seats 15.000 people.
Ministry of tourism, Damascus
Tel.: (00963)221 - 0122
Fax: (00963)224 - 2636